Real Life Stories
Surviving Cancer Is A Beautiful Beginning
The history repeated itself and I was not at all prepared for the same trauma again which I went through during my college days. The trauma of cancer which my mother had suffered 20 years back, had interrupted my life again. And this time the victim was myself. My mother had metastatic breast cancer. She fought bravely with it for almost 20 years. She passed away in 2015 and in June 2017, I was diagnosed with same dreadful malignant breast cancer.
Ironically when she was diagnosed with cancer she was 42 years old and my age was 21.Now I am 42 years old and my son is 21 years old. At that time my dreams to study more were shattered and I was forced to marry at young age. This time also the real world took me into another war zone. I understood that life I had imagined will not be the same any more. I have to fight another battle like my mother did and overcome all fears.
I remember freezing in disbelief when I discovered a lump while changing clothes one night. At first instance, it came to my mind that it can be a tumor but my heart was not ready to accept that. Somewhere in my mind I had the feeling also that I would be spared from any major health crisis myself as I was pretty much serious about my health , had mammograms with blood tests every year. But life is full of surprises. I didn’t know if this was a surprise to me but it surely seemed to surprise my dear ones and my family. My husband was in a big shock, he went to take an appointment next morning for mammogram before I woke up.
I got the Mammogram done and reports were not good. I was advised for breast MRI and FNAC. These reports turned out to be positive and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. What followed next was consultations with more doctors and finally a treatment plan. Whilst I was trying to take this life challenge head on, I blocked my emotions. As my brain had innumerous questions; who will take care of the family? Will I be able to afford the treatment? Is my medical insurance policy is sufficient? And the biggest one is why me ? I had no answers. It was my destiny and instead of thinking more, I prayed to God to show me the right path and left the future on Him. I also did not want a pimple sized lump to ruin our lives. I took it upon myself to take care of my being and fight back.
I did not want my son to go through the same situation that I faced. I wanted him to study after graduation. I also didn’t want my father to know about my health issues as I couldn’t see him going through the same grief once again. He was devastated after he came to know the truth. Looking back into his life, he seems to be a fighter, who fought the battle of cancer with my mom. He stood strong by my side too and daily visits me during my treatment. My inlaws also faced the situation bravely beyond my expectations. Their support and love made me strong all days during the treatment.
In the initial stages, what I found most annoying was the pouring in of free advises! Some would say drink wheat grass juice, other recommends cow urine. All were very sure that these remedies would guarantee a cancer free life. This made me wonder why people are suffering world over, if given that all remedies lie in our garden or kitchen. Anyhow, I focused myself on my treatment plan prescribed by doctors.
Lumpectomy (breast conserving surgery) was done within 2 days of confirmation of cancer, the affected lump was sent for biopsy and we found that 2 out of 6 lymph nodes had positive tumor cells. My Doctor Rajinder Kaur Saggu decided to give 6 cycles of chemotherapy and 20 radiations. I had seen the effects of chemotherapy on my mother, she was treated for 20 years one after another procedure. I was aware of the side-effects as I saw her sufferings, but the fear of seeing those side-effects on me killed me more inside. During her chemo, I was there to hold her when she used to vomit and to help her in daily needs. But in my case, I was afraid who would stand up for me, as I had no sister or daughter. My mother-in-law is old enough, I didn’t expect her to take my pain and run around for me. To my surprise, my husband was there for me as a pillar of strength; He helped me not only for my daily chores but comforted me in all the ways. He used to make fresh juice for me early morning, take care of my daily medication. Everything regarding me was done under his strict supervision.
My son took responsibility of taking me to hospital during chemotherapy sessions. My two close friends also accompanied me most of the times during my hospital visit. They came up as an army of supporters. I can’t thank them enough for their unconditional support and unparallel love. All of them make my hospital visits joyful. We use to play Ludo on our mobiles and some time my son and my friend start screaming like kids on winning or losing the game. Making nearby patients and their care takers pissed at us. We would then have to apologize to them and to the nurses also. This is how my chemo sessions passed out without much worries.
I lost my lengthy beautiful hair during second chemo. The most painful memory of mine is losing those tresses. After a point I couldn’t handle it and called my friend to remove my hair for me. She handled the situation bravely without panic and consoled me well and also helped me get rid of that pain. She is the one who accompanied me from the first test to last day of treatment and became my mental and emotional strength. Other side-effects like vomiting, nausea and stomach ache didn’t bother me.
Next was the radiation therapy, which was tough at its last cycles. I use to go to hospital with my husband early morning at 5 am, that itself was a different experience which made our relationship deeper. He is my greatest pillar of support, my safety net during any fall. Finally the treatment was over, it took almost 8 months.
After that Dr. Saggu prescribed a PET MRI and this time reports were good, everything was normal. I had not a single trace of cancer cell in my body left. I was declared Cancer Free. It was a delightful moment in my life and that day my son got me my favorite chocolate cake to celebrate my victory against cancer.
While my cancer cells died, my spirit to thrive more escalated. Now that I am strong and back on my feet, my only aim is to make my family strong and prove them that I would always be there with them. Immediately after my son graduated, we started looking for good colleges abroad, where he can concentrate on his studies and fulfill his dreams. He is studying in US for his masters degree. I feel myself blessed as I am able to do what I have planned for him.
Despite this, my biggest fear remained. What if this worst situation comes again into my life? Sometime I had weird thoughts of getting sick again. But my doctor, Dr. Rajinder Kaur always counseled me well and took me out from these negative thoughts. Her energy and at the same time her calmness helped me to move on. Her Godly -like presence in my life and her nothing-to-worry attitude pumped me up. Now instead of fearing the life ahead, I started looking forward positively for it.
Life after cancer should be physically and emotionally healthy. We need to nurture our body, mind and soul. I am happy that I am cancer free but at the same time I hate the feeling that I can’t do anything to prevent my cancer coming back. I read in many books that Light exercise, improved balanced diet and practicing stress management in form of yoga & meditation techniques have universally positive benefits. I have engaged myself in relaxation methods and started doing physical exercise, it helped in relieving stress. I have noticed a positive change in myself and I am successful in diminishing my fears. I am doing maximum efforts to take care of my body because our body is our life partner throughout our lives. The more we care for it, the more it will care for us.
Breast Cancer had also been monumental in transforming me as a person. I know I have survived that means I have to add meaning to my life now. I stared doing some services for the society and organizes the event “BHALAI KI DUKAN” twice a year to distribute clothes to needy.
God has given me another life, I want to thank him by giving back and spreading happiness all over around me. Fighting Cancer teaches us to be strong, courageous and brave but most of all it teaches us to appreciate every moment of life we have. A positive attitude and a bright smile can go miles in recovery. And if you have a supportive family and loving friends like mine. You can find the strength to overcome anything in life.